Jens Stoltenberg & Ulf Kristersson

Joint Remarks at Flag Raising Ceremony Signifying Sweden's Membership in NATO

delivered 11 March 2024, NATO HQ, Brussels, Belgium

Audio mp3 of Address       Audio AR-XE mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Secretary General Stoltenberg: Your Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria, Prime Minister Kristersson, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

This is an historic day. We welcome Sweden into NATO at a critical time for our shared security. In a moment, we will raise the Swedish flag here at the NATO Headquarters and across the whole Alliance for the first time.

Thirty-two flags flying together. They represent thirty-two nations working for a common purpose:
- to protect one billion people;
- prevent war;
- and preserve peace.

Sweden’s membership makes NATO stronger, Sweden safer, and all of us more secure. Sweden brings high-end capabilities, first-class military forces, and spends more than two percent of GDP on defense.

Sweden’s accession shows again that NATO’s door remains open. No one can close it. Every nation has the right to choose its own path, and we all choose the path of freedom and democracy. The brave people of Ukraine are fighting for these values as we speak. For 75 years, the transatlantic bond between Europe and North America has ensured our freedom and security.

As a friend and a Nordic neighbor, it gives me great pride that Sweden now joins us in this essential mission. Today as we raise the Swedish flag we stand together in unity and solidarity, committed to protect and defend each other; all for one, and one for all.

Prime Minister Kristersson, thank you for your personal commitment to our Alliance. Let me also recognize former Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson for the critical role you played in applying for NATO membership. And I'm glad that you are both here with ministers and  political leaders together with all of us today. This reflects the broad political support for NATO in the Swedish society.

So to all Swedes, I say -- velkommen til NATO.

Welcome to NATO.

Prime Minister Kristersson: Thank you so much. Since Thursday last week, Sweden is a proud Member of NATO, the most successful organization for peace and security that has ever existed. We are now an ally amongst allies. After more than 200 years of military non-alignment, this is a historic step.

But also, a very natural step. We've been preparing for decades and in details for the last two years. With this membership, Sweden has come home, home to the security cooperation of democracies, home to the security cooperation of our good neighbors.1

Today, I’d like to say thank you to all of our Allies. We have chosen you, and you have chosen us. All for one, one for all. We are humble but we are also proud. We know that the expectations for Sweden are high. And we have high expectations for ourselves.

The Swedish flag will now be raised here at the NATO Headquarters with a very strong support in our parliament and our people. A symbol of this is the fact that the Swedish delegation here today consists not only by cabinet ministers and the Commander-in-chief, but also by Her Royal Highness the Swedish Crown Princess Victoria, and all together six national party leaders.

In a vibrant democracy we argue and we debate, but we unite in the long-term protection of our freedom and democracy.

Sweden is no stranger to NATO. We joined the Partnership for Peace in 1994 and we have participated in all major NATO operations and in countless exercises since then. The Russian brutal full-scale invasion against Ukraine united Sweden behind the conclusion that a full-fledged NATO membership is the only reasonable choice. As a strong democracy, Sweden will stand up for the values in the Washington Treaty: freedom, democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law -- values that bind us together.

Sweden joins NATO because we believe in the importance of collective defense. But we also join NATO to be a security provider, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

Throughout our 30 years of partnership, we have demonstrated a strong capacity to act together with NATO. Our territory is located at the crossroads of Northern Europe. And we are ready to do our part all across the Euro-Atlantic area.

We bring -- We bring with us some unique capabilities. Our Armed Forces are modern and well trained -- on land, in air, at sea. They will bolster NATO's capabilities. Now we will integrate even deeper. We will learn and we will teach.

Sweden is fully committed to NATO's role in the fight against terrorism and we bring a long and strong tradition of successful trans-Atlantic cooperation. We know the importance of safeguarding a strong national defense. We are doubling our defense budget, and since January 1st Sweden meets the NATO standard of two per cent of GDP to defense spending. This is one important element in contributing to NATO’s security and burden-sharing. We also increase the number of conscripts; we strengthen civil defense; and we reintroduce civil -- civilian services.

In addition, we also will take part in the intensified work on innovation and emerging technologies. Sweden's defense industrial base is an asset with unique technological edge. The interface between civilian technology innovation and military applications has never been more important. Sweden will be a safer country in NATO, and NATO will be a stronger alliance with Sweden in it.

By joining NATO, Sweden -- like Finland just before us -- has exercised our right to freely choose our own security arrangements. That invaluable right is at the core of the European security order so bravely being defended in Ukrainian battlefields, as we meet here in Brussels.

Or as the U.S. President Joe Biden did put it when Finland joined NATO -- he said, “Putin wanted a Finlandization of Ukraine, but he got a NATOfication of Finland.” And now of Sweden.

Sweden joining NATO is not the end of something. It is a beginning. I look forward to help making the world a safer and freer place together with all of our Allies.

Thank you so much.

1 Conduplicatio to be catalogued

See also: PM Kristersson's Address to the Nation on NATO Membership

Original Text of SecGen Stoltenberg's Remarks and Image Source:

Original Text of PM Kristersson's Remarks Source:

Original Audio and Video Source:

Audio Note: AR-XE = American Rhetoric Extreme Enhancement

Video Note: Stereo enhanced.

Page Created: 3/12/24

U.S. Copyright Status: Text of Stoltenberg's remarks and Image of PM Kristersson = Used in compliance with these terms. Text of PM Kristersson's Remarks = Uncertain. Audio and Video = Public domain.
































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